Younger ethnic evangelicals consider pulling up stakes from white-led churches?


Segments of second-and third-generation Asian and Latino evangelicals are exiting their white and multiethnic megachurches and returning to their respective ethnic congregations, reports Christianity Today magazine (March). Erin Chan Ding writes that these younger ethnic evangelicals feel disillusioned with white-led churches, often megachurches, for lacking cultural understanding. Although no figures are provided as to the size of this exodus, she adds that as these ethnic evangelicals raise their own children they are having second thoughts about staying in those churches and not having their traditions and heritage passed on. The article cites a recent study of megachurches that found that while 58 percent were multiracial, 94 percent were pastored by whites. Sociologist Michael Emerson says that according to his research such disillusioned ethnic evangelicals either join multiethnic congregations led by pastors of color or drop out of organized religion altogether. But Ding adds that multiracial congregations are seen as “emotionally-draining” and uncomfortable for some Christians who thrive in more culturally homogeneous churches. Emerson and other observers note that multiracial congregations with ethnically diverse pastors and leaders who create space for different groups seem to be the most effective in keeping ethnic members.

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